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1986 ‐ Super Bowl XX ‐ Chicago Bears vs New England Patriots

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Chicago Bears 46
New England Patriots 10

January 26, 1986

Super Bowl XX was at the Louisiana Superdome. The NFC champion Bears (18-1) faced the AFC champion Patriots (14-6). The NBC broadcast had a record 127 million viewers. The game was broadcast to 59 countries.

Mike Ditka’s Bears were the second team to win 15 games. Ditka’s “46 Zone” defense led the league. The Bears featured colorful players like Jim McMahon and William “Refrigerator” Perry. They recorded a rap song called “Super Bowl Shuffle” that rose to #41 on the Billboard charts and got a Grammy nomination.

The Patriots were a Cinderella team, entering the playoffs despite losing 3 of their first 5 games. They became the first wild card to win 3 road games to reach the Super Bowl

After recovering a fumble at Chicago’s 19, New England took the Super Bowl’s fastest lead with a 36-yard field goal 1:19 into the game. Chicago dominated the rest of the first half to lead 23-3 and hold New England to -19 yards.

In the second half, Chicago advanced a record 96 yards. McMahon scored on a 1-yard run, becoming the first quarterback to rush for two touchdowns. The Bears got a 28-yard interception return and a 1-yard run to go up 44-3. Chicago’s 21 points set a record for most third quarter points.

Steve Grogan took the Patriots on a 76-yard fourth quarter touchdown drive. Grogan was later tackled for a safety to make the final score 46-10.

Chicago won its first NFL title since 1963. Defensive end Richard Dent got 1½ sacks, forced two fumbles, and blocked a pass. He became Super Bowl XX’s MVP, the fourth defender to be honored.

McMahon completed 12 of 20 passes for 256 yards. Walter Payton, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, had just 61 yards on 22 carries. Willie Gault had four receptions for 129 yards, the fourth-most receiving yards in a Super Bowl.

The Bears’ 46 points was a record. Their 36 point victory margin surpassed the Raiders mark of 29 in XVIII. Their defense tied the record of 7 sacks and held New England to a record-low seven running yards and 123 total yards, the second lowest in history. Ditka joined the Raiders’ Tom Flores as the second to win a Super Bowl as a player and coach.

Around the World on January 26:

  • Hein Vergeer became the European skating champion.
  • Val Skinner won the LPGA Mazda Golf Classic.
  • Yoweri Museveni’s rebel army conquered Kampala Uganda.

Around the NFL in 1986:

  • March 11 – The owners adopted limited instant replay and prohibited clothes and equipment with commercial names and personal messages.
  • July 29 – A U.S. District Court jury awarded the USFL $1 in its $1.7 billion antitrust suit against the NFL.
  • August 3 – Chicago beat Dallas 17-6 in London in the first American Bowl.
  • September 7 – ABC’s Monday Night Football began its seventeenth season, becoming the network’s longest-running prime-time series.
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